Category Archives: Gender

Women, water, work and inequality

Uzbekistan. Image: Embassy of Uzbekistan, Washington D.C.
Uzbekistan. Image: Embassy of Uzbekistan, Washington D.C.

By Eric Freedman

Water is a precious commodity in rural Uzbekistan. It’s in short supply but essential for the cotton and wheat that are the landlocked Central Asian country’s “strategic export commodities” providing 30 percent of its gross domestic product.

Water is just as essential for peasants who grow most of their own food.

Now a new study shows the interconnection among water, women, work and gender inequality under Uzbekistan’s government-mandated water management system that overwhelmingly favors private farms owned by men.

That allocation system largely excludes peasant women whose “subsistence water needs [are] being taken less seriously than the market-oriented needs of private farmers,” write professors Elena Kim of the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan, Conrad Schetter of the Bonn International Center for Conversion in Germany and Anna-Katharina Hornidge of the University of Bremen in Germany, Continue reading Women, water, work and inequality

Researchers study fair price shops in India



By Ali Hussain

Every month millions of people below the poverty line in India make their way to fair price shops. There they can buy a ration of wheat, rice, sugar or oil at a reduced price.

A network of over 400,000 fair price shops have provided governmentally subsidized food to more than 600 million citizens.

It is the largest distribution network in the world, yet there are concerns about its efficiency.

Prashant Rajan, an assistant professor at Iowa State University, studies the effectiveness of fair price shops in the Chhattisgarh province of India. He is studying how salespeople feel about the use of debit card-like smartcards to keep track of fair price purchases. His research could help fair price shops serve people higher quality food at a lower cost.

Listen to the podcast here.

Researcher studies limiting factors to safe drinking water

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In some urban areas of Malawi, 42 percent of households spend at least 30 minutes a day collecting drinking water. Almost all of the people collecting this water are women and children.

But  this water may not always be safe to drink. Many people suffer from waterborne diseases caused by drinking contaminated water.

Ellis Adams, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography at Michigan State University, examined how people get their water in poorer places in Malawi. He looked at water safety issues in urban and semi-urban areas of Blantyre and Lilongwe. His research could help identify gender dynamics and power structures around water supplies in Malawi.

Listen to the podcast here.

Photo: Ellis Adams

Students explore waste innovation to attract eco-tourism

Costa Rica copyCosta Rica is a relatively developed country in Central America, but some of its indigenous citizens have been left behind. The Shuabb people in the Talamanca region of Costa Rica have limited running water, electricity and waste management.

Nicole Kruse and Gina Masell are undergraduate students in Michigan State University’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. They are exploring ways to use waste treatment to bring ecotourism to the region.

Listen to the podcast here.